Public Company's Crypto Claims Draw SEC Scrutiny, Trade Suspension

The SEC has suspended trading in a company claiming to have registered an upcoming ICO with the regulator.

Oct 22, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. UTC

The U.S. Securities and Trading Commission (SEC) has suspended the trading of shares for a company which claimed to be offering an initial coin offering (ICO) that was registered with the regulator.

The SEC said Monday it had suspended trading in the American Retail Group, otherwise known as Simex, Inc., after the company claimed in August that it was partnering with an SEC-qualified custodian to support cryptocurrency transactions. Further, the company was offering a token sale which it claimed was "officially registered in accordance [with] SEC requirements."

Neither of these claims is accurate, the SEC said, with the Enforcement Division Cyber Unit's chief, Robert Cohen, adding in a statement that "the SEC does not endorse or qualify custodians for cryptocurrency."

He also recommended that investors "use vigilance when considering an investment in an initial coin offering."

This is the second action the SEC has taken against a company claiming to have the regulator's approval this month.

On October 11, the agency announced it had obtained an emergency court order against BlockVest and its proprietor, Reginald Buddy Ringgold, after the two used the SEC's seal to indicate their ICO was registered with the regulator.

At the time, Cohen noted that the SEC "does not endorse investment products."

SEC logo image via Shutterstock

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